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1941: Counter Attack (Arcade) artwork

1941: Counter Attack (Arcade) review


"1941: Counter Attack had a lot to prove following up its predecessor. While 1943 Kai wasn't a GREAT game, it did do a lot for the series back when it originally came out: a better, yet, still hard gameplay experience, souped-up weapons, a decent stage count, and other nice additions. So, when I began the first stage of 1941, I wasn't that impressed. It basically started out like any other game in the series. With the P-38 at my controls (second player gets a Mosquito, I thin..."



1941: Counter Attack had a lot to prove following up its predecessor. While 1943 Kai wasn't a GREAT game, it did do a lot for the series back when it originally came out: a better, yet, still hard gameplay experience, souped-up weapons, a decent stage count, and other nice additions. So, when I began the first stage of 1941, I wasn't that impressed. It basically started out like any other game in the series. With the P-38 at my controls (second player gets a Mosquito, I think), I flew over yet another big, blue sea, and did battle with an old enemy: TEH PLANE! TEH PLANE!

However, upon further inspection, I noticed that my little fighter had a new addition: a charge shot. While I won't go as far as say it's an awesome addition, it definitely adds to the gameplay. No longer will you have to use your bomb attacks for a powerful impact. You can opt to hold out on it for something more extreme, and instead use the charge shot for clearing the skies of multiple pests. So, while I was getting acquainted with the new move, this giant, propeller plane-thingy of doom came out of nowhere as my first boss encounter. Then it started shooting red balls at me.

Funny, I don't remember this aircraft existing in 1941....

After I rid the skies of this freak, I then started to see some actual change in the game. As stage two begun, I was thrown in-between a canyon where satellite propellers (really, that's the best way I can describe them) and ship/submarine hybrids greeted me with hugs and kisses (aka death). As I did my best to avoid their bullets and recklessly spun off the rocky edges of the canyon, I eventually made my way to the enemy's docking base. That's when things got crazy: bullets flew every which way from planes, ships, and onshore turrets. The battlefield suddenly became just as hectic as it was in Kai. However, the chaos felt much more subdued here. That may sound like a bad thing, but it's not. While the action gets hot and heavy at times, it's much easier to dodge stuff here than it was in Kai.

Things feel much more balanced because of this new sense of difficulty. It also makes for a lot of great adrenaline moments, and believe me, this game has a lot of them. For example, in stage three, you'll try your best to avoid dozens of flame throwers, rocket launchers, and beefed-up vehicles in close quarters. Later in the same stage, you'll have a hell of a time trying to avoid laser beams that bounce off of the legion of mirrors that fill a narrow hallway. Not to be toppled, the end of the stage has your P-38 face off against a GIGANTIC rocket that's blasting off to only God knows where. However, my favorite chaotic moment is the entire fourth stage itself: you end up doing battle with ships, planes, turrets, and tanks in the middle of an entire city. Bridges get blow to bits, buildings become shadows of their former selves, and the army is doing their damnedest trying to destroy your unstoppable, little plane before it disintegrates their town. It's really a great moment.

Now, you'll get shot down a lot during the course of six stages, but you won't be frustrated losing here as you did in previous games. Why? Because you'll be having too much fun to actually care. It wasn't until I played through this game that I realized that that was the exact thing that was missing from Kai: fungevity. Hell, the moment I finished 1941, it made me want to play through the entire game, again. And I did. Something its predecessor failed to do. Shoot, I'm starting to wonder if this was originally an entirely different game before getting a name change. So, yeah, not only did 1941: Counter Attack proved itself a worthy addition to the series, but manages to step all over the previous releases in the process by being an enjoyable title.

It's certainly a fun way to waste a Monday evening, that's for sure.

Rating: 8/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (August 22, 2006)

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